Not only are there flowers and vegetables that can be planted in the fall for beautiful viewing and harvest that same season, but also for prep for beauty the following spring.
You can also make sure your garden is ready for the next seasons as well when the chore list around the garden is dwindling down for the cooler, end-of-year months.
Gardening organically doesn’t have to change what you plant or when, although it will help if you do some prep work for the next year. You also want to keep in mind what types of pests you will be encountering so you know how to head them off easiest.
There are certain flowers that grow from seed you want to plant in these cooler fall months. It will lay dormant for the cold winter and sprout in spring and summer, used mostly for ground cover in larger gardens.
If you are just starting out with an organic flower garden, you want to try your hand at zinnias, however. They are very easy to grow with a relatively small list of pests that are attracted to them and they are quick to bloom.
You want to put seeds out a month or two before the expected last frost, so sometime at the end of winter.
Spring Blooming Bulbs
Tulips and lilies are the most well-known spring blooming bulbs available and no organic flower garden would be complete without them. Planting them in the fall allows them to become comfortable for the cold winter months and then sprout up as the weather warms in spring.
You want to make sure they are a decent distance apart, and each flower will have a different distance, so be sure to ask the nursery. Mark each bulb location with a popsicle stick or even a plastic spoon so you don’t mistakenly dig one up when weeding.
Daffodil and irises are also fall-planted, spring-blooming bulbs you may want to add to your garden
Your flower garden may be looking nice but organic gardening doesn’t mean just flowers. If trying your hand at vegetables, leafy greens can be healthy, tasty, and easy to grow. Watch out for flea beetles that like to attack the leaves.
However, with the right compost and some row covers, it can keep them at bay. Many types of lettuce, arugula, spinach, and more can all be planted in late summer or early fall for a harvest just before winter hits.
Root vegetables like potatoes, carrots, turnips and more can survive the long, cold winter months in the soil so planting them just before winter in the late fall months can make for a hearty spring harvest earlier than you would have if you had waited until spring to do all your planting.
Even though they can survive through the cold, a harsh frost can be detrimental to their growth so covering them if you expect a deep freeze is important.
Just like root vegetables that can grow, even slowly, through the winter months, brassicas are able to survive as well. You’ll want to protect against a deep freeze but planting in the late fall can allow for a late spring harvest, getting the most out of your spring to fall harvests the following year.
You may want to think about planting broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower. Because the brassicas, root vegetables, and leafy greens are being planted in the fall to do much of their growing, and root spreading, in the winter, many bugs will be dormant, and you won’t have to worry about protecting the plants from them.
Fall Prep for Next Year
Just because the garden is growing, growing, growing and you are mostly just waiting for spring to continue the gardening, doesn’t mean you can’t make next year easier, and even more productive, by prepping for it in the fall. You will want to do as much garden cleanup as possible.
Take away all dead branches and leaves, weed out as much as possible, and straighten up all garden tool areas. You will also want to get your composting area ready.
Insulate your composting area so the heat it generates can help the compost… well… compost. And help prepare the ground prepare for spring by spreading a thick layer of mulch everywhere you will be planting come planting season.
Whether you decide to grow flowers, from seed or from bulb, or you want to grow vegetables, you can garden organically and see the best results when you plan on planting in the fall.
However, don’t forget to also spend time preparing your garden for spring. The work you do in the fall helps make the following year more bountiful in harvest and easier to work when it is time to plant again.